4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Sweetwater & Rohr Park Railroad days numbered?

Officials vow to spare Chula Vista Live Steamers from redevelopment plan

Volunteers check the track in Rohr Park
Volunteers check the track in Rohr Park

“We are concerned about the Chula Vista Golf Course and Rohr Park redevelopment [proposal],” Scott Lewis recently told Chula Vista mayor Mary Casillas Salas, councilmembers, and staff. “[We’ve] been in Rohr Park for 43 years providing [train] rides [and] we have a pretty good safety record.”

Lots of multistory buildings included in development

Lewis, the president of the Chula Vista Live Steamers, saw a Facebook post last week of the proposed redevelopment map of the land that his organization’s railroad tracks are laid on.

“We looked at the map and we didn’t see no train tracks,” Lewis said in an interview, “[and] we are kinda freaking out.”

After he saw the maps and plans on the ULI (Urban Land Institute) San Diego – Tijuana Technical Assistance Report, he attended the City of Chula Vista City Council meeting on November 7 at the council chambers at 276 4th Avenue.

Miguel Contreras is a 42-year-old realtor who lives within walking distance from the miniature railroad. “I grew up riding that train and I have beautiful childhood memories of Rohr Park,” he said. “The train doesn’t run as regularly as it did when I was a child but it is a nostalgic relic of days past.”

"When my children were little they rode on the trains and when my grandchildren were little they rode on the trains," said the mayor.

Lewis blamed the slower season on the heavy winter storm damage that “mangled up” some of their tracks. He said he and his volunteers give about 5000 train rides annually to the general public at no cost. One of the 1/8-scale locomotives runs on steam; the group also has other trains that run on electric batteries (like golf-cart motors) and gasoline motors with hydraulics.

“We have no clue what to do and where to move to [if the proposal comes true],” he said. “I’ve got 30 years tied up into this hobby [and] I have a full garage of stuff.”

Contreras studied the proposal carefully because if the plan becomes a reality, it would not only impact the park that he and his family walk, play, and ride the train at, but also the property values: average price for a single-family residence in the area is $715,000. The country vibes, Rohr Park, and the miniature train are selling points for Bonita.

Chula Vista Live Steamers' plans to lay track in Rohr Park came about in the early '70s.

“I understand that there is concern about losing Rohr Park, although my understanding is that the land the park sits on was deeded to the city to be used solely as a park; thus, canceling out the park and changing the use of that land would be a huge legal battle. Additionally, the current ULI study recommends transitioning the golf course into a park; thus the area would gain some park square footage — something the city should consider irrespective of the ULI study.”

The study shows a map with large multifamily complexes that will contain up to 2000 units and six acres designated for 40,000 square feet of office and retail space — which will all be surrounding what’s left of Rohr Park and the foregone golf course.

City of Chula Vista city manager Gary Halbert said, “…[L]ast year, knowing that the golf course has been very much an underperforming asset, one of the things we looked at was asking the Urban Land Institute to do an unconstrained analysis of what would you do…with the park [and] with the golf course, and from that they did come back with a proposal.”

Councilmember John McCann said, “I want to make sure that everybody knows that there is no project to get rid of the golf course [and] I don’t support any project to get rid of the golf course to build apartment complexes…[and] Rohr Park is a tremendous asset for just open space.”

Lewis and almost all of the residents on the social media feeds were relieved to hear about this.

The railroaders run on donations and what's in their pockets.

“The [Chula Vista Live] Steamers is a well-kept secret in Chula Vista and it shouldn’t be a well-kept secret,” said mayor Mary Salas, “because I know that when my children were little they rode on the trains, and when my grandchildren were little they rode on the trains, too. We hope that you continue [for] many, many more years of success there. And I think it’s time for another train festival, myself.”

The Steamers club runs on donations ($3000 on a good year) from the general public or out of some of the 20 members’ own pockets. Most of the equipment, including the locomotive unit, the cars, and the tracks, are made and maintained by the members.

“We are not rich people, but people with the desire to build and operate working model trains,” Lewis said. “This Saturday and Sunday [November 11–12] is run day from 12 till 3 [and] we will be giving rides and having fun. Come on out to Rohr and enjoy your park.”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Villa Montezuma re-opens one more time

Queen Anne home invites spookiness – including Edgar Allan Poe
Next Article

Villa Montezuma re-opens one more time

Queen Anne home invites spookiness – including Edgar Allan Poe
Volunteers check the track in Rohr Park
Volunteers check the track in Rohr Park

“We are concerned about the Chula Vista Golf Course and Rohr Park redevelopment [proposal],” Scott Lewis recently told Chula Vista mayor Mary Casillas Salas, councilmembers, and staff. “[We’ve] been in Rohr Park for 43 years providing [train] rides [and] we have a pretty good safety record.”

Lots of multistory buildings included in development

Lewis, the president of the Chula Vista Live Steamers, saw a Facebook post last week of the proposed redevelopment map of the land that his organization’s railroad tracks are laid on.

“We looked at the map and we didn’t see no train tracks,” Lewis said in an interview, “[and] we are kinda freaking out.”

After he saw the maps and plans on the ULI (Urban Land Institute) San Diego – Tijuana Technical Assistance Report, he attended the City of Chula Vista City Council meeting on November 7 at the council chambers at 276 4th Avenue.

Miguel Contreras is a 42-year-old realtor who lives within walking distance from the miniature railroad. “I grew up riding that train and I have beautiful childhood memories of Rohr Park,” he said. “The train doesn’t run as regularly as it did when I was a child but it is a nostalgic relic of days past.”

"When my children were little they rode on the trains and when my grandchildren were little they rode on the trains," said the mayor.

Lewis blamed the slower season on the heavy winter storm damage that “mangled up” some of their tracks. He said he and his volunteers give about 5000 train rides annually to the general public at no cost. One of the 1/8-scale locomotives runs on steam; the group also has other trains that run on electric batteries (like golf-cart motors) and gasoline motors with hydraulics.

“We have no clue what to do and where to move to [if the proposal comes true],” he said. “I’ve got 30 years tied up into this hobby [and] I have a full garage of stuff.”

Contreras studied the proposal carefully because if the plan becomes a reality, it would not only impact the park that he and his family walk, play, and ride the train at, but also the property values: average price for a single-family residence in the area is $715,000. The country vibes, Rohr Park, and the miniature train are selling points for Bonita.

Chula Vista Live Steamers' plans to lay track in Rohr Park came about in the early '70s.

“I understand that there is concern about losing Rohr Park, although my understanding is that the land the park sits on was deeded to the city to be used solely as a park; thus, canceling out the park and changing the use of that land would be a huge legal battle. Additionally, the current ULI study recommends transitioning the golf course into a park; thus the area would gain some park square footage — something the city should consider irrespective of the ULI study.”

The study shows a map with large multifamily complexes that will contain up to 2000 units and six acres designated for 40,000 square feet of office and retail space — which will all be surrounding what’s left of Rohr Park and the foregone golf course.

City of Chula Vista city manager Gary Halbert said, “…[L]ast year, knowing that the golf course has been very much an underperforming asset, one of the things we looked at was asking the Urban Land Institute to do an unconstrained analysis of what would you do…with the park [and] with the golf course, and from that they did come back with a proposal.”

Councilmember John McCann said, “I want to make sure that everybody knows that there is no project to get rid of the golf course [and] I don’t support any project to get rid of the golf course to build apartment complexes…[and] Rohr Park is a tremendous asset for just open space.”

Lewis and almost all of the residents on the social media feeds were relieved to hear about this.

The railroaders run on donations and what's in their pockets.

“The [Chula Vista Live] Steamers is a well-kept secret in Chula Vista and it shouldn’t be a well-kept secret,” said mayor Mary Salas, “because I know that when my children were little they rode on the trains, and when my grandchildren were little they rode on the trains, too. We hope that you continue [for] many, many more years of success there. And I think it’s time for another train festival, myself.”

The Steamers club runs on donations ($3000 on a good year) from the general public or out of some of the 20 members’ own pockets. Most of the equipment, including the locomotive unit, the cars, and the tracks, are made and maintained by the members.

“We are not rich people, but people with the desire to build and operate working model trains,” Lewis said. “This Saturday and Sunday [November 11–12] is run day from 12 till 3 [and] we will be giving rides and having fun. Come on out to Rohr and enjoy your park.”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Little apes on a little rock in a sea of nothingness

Scoobert Doobert, Sorry It’s Over, Nortec Collective, Stephen Pearcy, Mrs. Henry
Next Article

San Diego Reader’s Best Of issue 2021

Joshua trees in Mission Beach, Ace Hardware in Hillcrest, the regulars at Liberty Tobacco, the unnecessity of Balboa Park, “We live on the edge of paradise”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close